Movie Monday: The Princess In The Vase 1908

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Linda Arvidson IMDb Amazon Image
Image Credit: IMDb & Amazon

One-hundred, fifteen years ago, today, the short, silent black & white comedy The Princess In The Vase was released. Directed by Wallace McCutcheon, Sr., it starred only three actors…D.W. Griffith, Edward Dillon and Linda Arvidson, Griffith’s then-wife. Griffith is the Lover, Arvidson is the Lady-in-Waiting and Dillon is the Waiter. C. W. “Billy” Bitzer was the cinematographer.

The opening scenes of this production are laid in Egypt, five hundred years before Herodotus, the Father of History, visited that country. Three thousand years ago, there dwelt in Egyptian Memphis, the ancient capital of the Pharaohs, a wealthy prince, whose wife in beauty was likened to [Hathor], the Egyptian Venus, with [a] heart as cold as Egyptian marble. The prince, worried and suspicious, seeks the royal seer, who tells him the princess has a lover and, in a vision, shows him the princess in the arms of that lover, a Theban warrior. Instant death is the punishment meted out to the guilty pair. The princess is placed on a bier and carried out in front of the Temple, under the very shadow of the Pyramids of Gizah. Here, the High Priest, with a flambeau, sets fire to the pyre and her body is burned as an offering, with prayers, to mighty Osiris, beseeching that he overcome Typhon, who seems to hold sway. Alongside the pyre is placed a vase, decorated with hieroglyphics, which is to be the sarcophagus, of that ethereal, of the unfortunate princess. The smoke and vapor, as it arises from the body, enters the vase in a most mysterious manner. The vase is then sealed and the cavalcade proceeds with it to the tomb, where it is deposited and the door of the tomb closed, it was thought forever. Three thousand years later, there came to the “Land of Ruins” a Boston professor, student of the illustrious Jean Francois Chainpollion, discoverer of the key to Egyptian hieroglyphics, who unearthed the vase and took it to his home in Boston. Vague, indeed, was the story he learned about the treasure and, while sitting in his study, cudgeling his brain to lift the veil of mystery from it, falls to sleep. [In] this psychological condition, [he] imagines the maid, while dusting, knocks the vase from the tabouret on which it stands. Bursting into bits, it emits a dense vapor, from which the reincarnated princess appears. Here is trouble. Our friend, the professor, is a married man, whose better-half is a buxom, unethereal person, who doesn’t believe in the “Soul Sister” tommyrot. She, of course, wants an explanation, which the nervous professor is unable to give, so he bolts and runs hatless out of the house, followed by the princess, both followed by Mrs. Professor. Into a restaurant he rushes, with the princess at his heels. At the restaurant, as they sit enjoying a repast, the reincarnated Theban lover appears and claims the princess. This, the old professor resents and is run through by the Egyptian just as the wife enters. Mortally wounded, he falls to the floor, from the sofa, [as] the scene changes and we find the professor awakening from a horrible dream, the pain of the sword thrust being induced by a severe attack of indigestion.

Summary From Moving Picture World

There are no videos of this or any pictures. Since the movie was about a Princess, I grabbed a photo of Linda Arvidson from her IMDb profile. She also has a nice picture on Wikipedia, linked, above. The film is listed for 1908 releases and there is a note/citation referencing a mention of this short in Horror In Silent Films: A Filmography 1896-1929, though IMDb does not tag this as a horror. The production company was American Mutoscope & Biograph Company, the first company in the US devoted entirely to film production and exhibition. There is a survival status of some print in the Library of Congress. I wish I had more. ~Vic

12 thoughts on “Movie Monday: The Princess In The Vase 1908

    popchartfreak said:
    February 27, 2023 at 12:25 PM

    Fascinating. Archive material should be on the internet really, everyone involved is long gone..

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      February 27, 2023 at 1:52 PM

      I agree but, the Library of Congress is “government.” If “government” doesn’t want you to see something, you don’t get to see it…unless you are part of said “government” and have the correct “classifications” level. LoC is associated with the Web Archive. Though the WA is run by civilians that survive on donations, the “government” can stop them from saving anything. Case in point…Joseph Mercola is an outstanding researcher & doctor. He’s had a website with wonderful information on self healing & nutrition, going back nearly 25 years. The “government” went after him because he dared challenge the idea of mass vaccination, when tried & true natural protocols would have been more effective and safer. The “government” forced him to wipe out his entire history online. He would post data for 48 hours but, would have to take it down. If you wanted to save anything from his new posts, you couldn’t because the “government” told the WA not to. I’d never seen that before and…the WA wiped out his 25 year back catalogue from their site. That is totally unheard of. There are some other non-profit archive sites that still have some of his stuff but, not the storage capacity or use that the WA has.

      Sadly, many of these old films suffered the same fate as what the BBC did to the early Doctor Who episodes…destroyed them or threw them out.

    theearthspins said:
    February 27, 2023 at 1:34 PM

    1908. Pre-woke. That explains the frilly lace dress.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      February 27, 2023 at 1:55 PM

      Early 1900s dress was so lovely.

        KenshoHomestead said:
        February 27, 2023 at 3:33 PM

        I watched lacemakers working a few times, really incredible art/craft.

    Badfinger (Max) said:
    March 1, 2023 at 11:17 PM

    Damn…you find the oddest movies I’ve ever seen…and I’ve seen A LOT of pre twenties movies! One day…one day you will have one I’ve seen before.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      March 1, 2023 at 11:52 PM

      IMDb searches. Sometimes I get a hit. Sometimes I don’t. This one had no stills or video. At least there was a record of it.

        Badfinger (Max) said:
        March 2, 2023 at 12:19 AM

        Oh…so you TRY to find one that has no record?

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          March 2, 2023 at 12:25 PM

          LOL! No. Whatever the specific date I use for each Monday Movie (releases) returns a hit…or not. And, I search via five year increments…in the case of this year, 2023, I look for movie releases, going back as far as I can…and come forward if there are no hits. Some stuff will show up in the late 1800s but, they are rare as shit. In the case of this movie, I dug back 130 years, moving forward five years for every blank hit. 1908 gave me this hit. Next time, I will shoot for 1913 but, using the next Monday’s date…which may be months from now. I might get a hit or not. Then, I move forward five years.

          My analytical brain just automatically looks for patterns & numbers.

          Now, my Flick Fridays are different. Those aren’t releases. They are number ones. I use Wikipedia lists for that. I’m not sure IMDb tracks movies as #1s. Box Office Mojo is also a good site for #1s. And, again, I dig in five year increments per whatever the date is for any particular Friday.

          Have I confused you? I have similar methods with music for Music Monday (releases) & Tune Tuesdays (#1s). Wikipedia is helpful with that, as well as American Radio History. I have all kinds of websites I visit for data. Song Saturday is just my Samsung playlist, posted alphabetically.

            Badfinger (Max) said:
            March 2, 2023 at 2:22 PM

            Yep…pretty much confused lol….no I get it. I like the ones you pick…once in a blue moon I’ve seen one.
            I want to have more days like that. Now I have…power pop Fridays and Covers on Tuesdays…it does make it easier to find source material

              The Hinoeuma responded:
              March 2, 2023 at 3:45 PM

              Dude, I have SO many websites I check for data. My thing is dates, except for POTD or VOTD. I used to do a lot of National Day Calendar posts. I might do more of those. I think everyday has something to celebrate.

                Badfinger (Max) said:
                March 2, 2023 at 8:48 PM

                I like not being tied down to something obviously… the carpenters one day and Black Sabbath the next is my goal… but having a few days mapped out helps

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